Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Building a Sustainable Startup: Guest Post on C-Suite Insider

This week I had the honor of writing a two part guest post on CSuiteInsider.com about how you can tell if your start-up is heading in the wrong direction and what founders can do to boost their chances of building a sustainable business.

You can read my first post on how to figure out if your company is heading toward a premature end here.  And the second post on the ways to improve your likelihood of success here.

Both posts focus on the following nine critical success factors:
  1. Get Lots of Customer Feedback
  2. Know Your Fanatical Early Adopters
  3. Focus on Your Company Culture
  4. Bring Together People with Diverse Skills and Backgrounds
  5. Find a Problem that Matches Your DNA
  6. Make Sure You Have the Right DNA for the Solution
  7. Do Not Focus on Advertising Revenue
  8. Find Paying Customers
  9. Be Paranoid
I learned the importance of these success factors the hard way advising and working at several early stage startups. I have seen first hand how brilliant well-executed ideas can lead to wasted time, money and effort when those ideas are not validated by customers early and often. I've experienced how petty politics can threaten to destroy a what you're working so hard to create, and how replacing dysfunctional team members can reignite the sense of passion and purpose that make real breakthroughs possible. I know that early revenue streams is where the rubber meets the road whether you are trying to bootstrap using your own savings and credit or trying to get better terms from angel investors or VCs.

What are the warning signs that you look for? What are the key things that you do to make sure your company stays on track?

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